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Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Still in the Pipeline, Headed to AT&T

apple_tabletOh Apple tablet rumors, how I’ve missed you. The interruption of Apple’s (s aapl) Rock and Roll event seemed to take the wind out of your sails, but luckily, it was only temporary. Now, the Taiwan Economic News (via All Things D) is stoking the fires of hope once again with updates on pricing, time frame and technical details of the oft-rumored upcoming device.

Should these latest rumors prove correct, we can expect to see this tantalizing Apple fanboi fantasy by February of next year. Pricing should fall between $799 and $999, which will net you a 9.6-inch touch panel device powered by a mystery P.A. Semi-engineered chip, with a super-long-lasting battery by DynaPack International Technology.

The battery pack order size provides a rough estimation as to what Apple’s expected sales for the new device will be:

Outbidding its Taiwanese counterpart Simplo Technology Co., Ltd., DynaPack International Technology Corp. has been exclusively contracted to supply up to 300,000 units of long lasting battery packs a month for Apple’s newest tablet PCs.

In addition, the tablet will reportedly contain a 3G HSDPA modem, which seems to indicate it would be designed to operate on AT&T’s (s t) network. If true, it’s possible that consumers will see some decent discounts on the hardware, so long as they purchase data plans from AT&T along with an Apple tablet.

The full supplier list from the Taiwan Economic News also includes Wintek for the capacitive touchscreen, Wanshih Electronic Company for cables, and Mag. Layers Scientific-Technics Co. Having such an extensive parts supplier list is of course no guarantee that the rumors are accurate, but similar lists appeared before the launch of the iPhone 3G and the 3GS, and both turned out to be accurate.

As for the February date, it does seem a likely candidate for a new product introduction, if only because it will coincide with the new Macworld Expo. Apple, of course, won’t be participating in Macworld this year, but it has traditionally used the keynote of the event to announce new products, so even without participating, it makes sense for it to stick to its established product release schedule.

Steve Jobs, freshly returned as the public face of the company, also dropped some very oblique, but very tantalizing possible reference to a tablet recently in statements made after the Rock and Roll event to David Pogue of the New York Times. He is rumored to be the driving force behind the tablet initiative, if it does exist.

19 Responses to “Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Still in the Pipeline, Headed to AT&T”

  1. WHY, would Apple pair the device with Verizons network when their already paired with AT&T?
    Thats stupid, there just going with the comp. I will not buy the product if they do that, AT&T for life.

  2. It’s simple, really. Just because the tablet contains a 3G modem — which other netbooks already do — doesn’t necessitate a wireless carrier. The iPhone without a carrier is an iTouch, with most of the same hardware. At least this time, if the price points mentioned are accurate, we’re getting a fair shake even if it is tied to a cellular company. It’ll still have Wi-Fi. It’ll still be a tablet computer. It’ll still be Mac. I hope this rumor proves true. It’ll be a fantastic addition to the Mac line.

  3. I won’t buy any mac that is tied to any phoneco or contains a phone Why would I want to lug acomputer when I go shopping or fishing or whatever.

    That may be fine for those whose work requires both, but for anyone else it makes no sense at all

  4. At&t still can not offer MMS capability now two and 1/2 years after iphone inital deployment (yes, yes I know, 9/25).. You want me to believe that in less than a year they’ll be ready to give me an itable which, by all accounts, will need exponentially more network space than the iPhone? Ha. Ha ha ha.

    They can’t even manage teathering! Hahhhhahahaha. C’mon. Isn’t there REAL Apple news to report on?

    Stuff like this makes me think you’re only writing for the clicks, like TUAB does.

  5. “Should these latest rumors prove correct, we can expect to see this tantalizing Apple fanboi fantasy by February of next year.”

    I know your only a blogger, but can you at least strive for a modicum of professionalism?

    • I’m sorry, but maybe I’m missing something here. What is unprofessional about this? Is it the use of slang (“fanboi”), or the opinion being expressed? The grammar is correct, so far as I can see, unlikes yours (I believe you meant to say “you’re,” not “your” when referencing the author’s blogger status).

      Blogs can range from news to opinion to pure entertainment, and anything in between. Furthermore, I have a bit of a pet peeve about people who comment on grammar or “professionalism,” while completely ignoring the actual content of the post. It contributes nothing.

      And now, so as not to make this comment as completely useless as yours, I will comment on the rumored tablet:

      Should these rumors come true, I’ll be taking a wait-and-see approach to this fabled new device. I like the idea of a more portable computer that’s bigger and more powerful than an iPhone, but I have to question whether I REALLY need it. I mean, I have an iMac, a MacBook, and an iPhone. I also have an iPod Classic, and were it not for the other features of the iPhone that make it so worthwhile, the overlap of media players might have been an issue.

      In the case of this tablet, though, it might prove to completely eliminate what I use my MacBook for currently. My iMac does most of the heavy lifting in my computing life, from syncing my iPod and iPhone, carrying my music library, photos, videos, EyeTV, games, etc. The MacBook currently serves as an extension of my iMac, and performs a function some would say a netbook could just as easily. I use it for email, light web surfing, writing, the occasional online media content (such as Hulu, Netflix, etc.)

      In light of this, what could this new touch screen device offer that my MacBook doesn’t? Smaller form factor? Yes. Touch-screen? A nice touch and useful addition. But when it comes down to it, I’d probably miss the keyboard, and most likely it will be underpowered compared to my MacBook. On top of that, perhaps the biggest argument against this rumored tablet, for me, is that I already own a MacBook. If I didn’t, and I was in the market for a new portable computer, perhaps this would top the list, but frankly I don’t NEED one.

      Not being a necessity is a big enough factor as it is, but potentially being tied to AT&T (or another carrier) is even bigger. I already pay a bill to AT&T for my iPhone, and frankly, a rapidly deteriorating level of service. There’s pretty much no chance that I would fork over even more money to them each month unless it was extremely affordable, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it probably won’t be.

      Of course, if the device still has WiFi, and is affordable sans subsidies, or perhaps even comes in a non-3G configuration to save a bit of cost, then I could see it being the right device for a good number of people looking for a light-weight computing device for use around the house and on the go. I just don’t know if I’ll be signing up on day one.

  6. I REALLY hope that the tablet has the capacity to have stylus input.

    I’m not that worried about handwriting recognition, but I really want to have the ability to jot notes and drawings down and annotate documents.

    A finger touch screen just won’t be accurate enough to allow you to write and draw as shown by the iPhone.